For a lot of
years the Farmall
M was in
the big leagues--one of the few tractors with the power, capability,
and popularity to become a lasting symbol of modern farming.
one of the most successful tractors of all time, which has two
for current sales: One, lots of people still really like
drives the price up. Two, many of the 300,000 or so that were
are still around, which drives the price down. Typical
for average Ms in running condition are around $1200, here in the
A non-running "parts tractor" might go for just a few hundred; a
"show tractor" might go for three or four thousand or even more,
especially if it's
a Super MTA or Super MTA Diesel, the last versions of the M.
worn, cracked, or flat tires will drive the value of the tractor down
a few hundred dollars; new or nearly new ones will drive it up by a
similar amount. Overall condition of the sheet metal
variable, with the front grille being especially likely to be bent up
or missing the little insert near the bottom. Even if that
gone, check to see if the bottom bar of the grille itself is still
there--the inserts are readily available from aftermarket suppliers,
but if that lower bar has been cut out you'll need more than the insert
to fix it.
If the gauges, lights, and starting and charging systems work, it'll
you the cost of repairing or replacing them later. Optional
equipment like fenders, a belt pulley, the toolbox
mounts on the lightbar, wheel
weights, etc., are less expensive to buy already on a tractor
than as separate individual parts. Oil leaks from
the engine, brakes, axles, or power
takeoff shaft aren't unusual and likely don't mean anything
but it can be a lot of work to fix them. (Click here for photos and
notes about minor repairs I've made to my 1950 M).
Most Ms have an
internal "Lift-All" hydraulic system for tractor-mounted implements
like cultivators or a
auxiliary hydraulic valve was available as an option to provide
two-way pressure for a remotely-mounted hydraulic cylinder,
such as might be mounted on a trailing implement like a disk or brush hog.
Those valves and related components are frequently
auctioned on eBay, so you can add them to a tractor that didn't previously have
them, but it'll likely cost $150 or more by the time you get it all set
4-row cultivators on a Farmall M at a tractor show
None of the M series
hitches, but they can be added as aftermarket items. At least
members have done so, and wrote the following descriptions.
that all three also have live hydraulic pumps on their
Super Ms built in 1953
or 54 (and
regular Ms with after-market equipment--see below) have an
hydraulic pump, as opposed to a transmission-driven pump.
hydraulic implements can be operated independently of the transmission
clutch, which is a nice feature. The "live" pump also has
and a higher volume flow, so you can lift heavier loads and lift them
than you could with the original transmission-driven pump. If
are hydraulic hoses running along the right side of the tractor engine,
from up by the distributor to back under the gas tank, the tractor has
live hydraulics. (The live pump is driven by the timing gear
the same thing that turns the distributor shaft, so the hoses have to
alongside the engine to reach the pump).
live hydraulic pump
on a Super M, on the right side of the engine between the distributor
the timing gear train.
If you're going to add a live pump to a tractor that didn't previously
have one, check the spacing of the two top bolts on the distributor
drive (it should be about 3" for older Ms, and about 3-1/2" for newer
ones and Super Ms).
will likely only fit the wider spacing, but you may be able to find a
pump made by an after-market supplier that will fit the narrower
bought a used IH
that fits in place of the distributor drive between the timing gear and
the distributor (that was $250 from Biewers Antique Acres).
I was fortunate to locate a used hydraulic valve and some other parts
were originally from a JD combine, complete with some long curved
A bracket was made for the valve, and I mounted it on the right axle,
the curved handles coming right at hip level when sitting. I
various hoses, adapters, reservoir, and filter from Northern, a
Farmall 3-point hitch kit, and a 2x8" cylinder from CT.
valve is a two way valve, I rigged up the lift cylinder for two way
- it is much faster going down that way, but I needed one extra
If I could have located a used OEM reservoir from a parts tractor, it
have made a neater job of it, but I ended up putting the reservoir
the seat - the battery remained under the gas tank.
it works fine.
How much did it cost? I think I spent about $800 all
Was that worth it? I don't know. It was interesting
fun to work through the whole process, but to spend $800 on a $1600
was probably not an efficient operation -- I could probably have bought
a similar 400 with fast hitch and live hydraulics for about the same
Fast hitch adapter kits from 2-point to 3-point are only about
Also, if I had known, I would have bought the
3-point kit, which comes with 2 cylinders and saved at least $200 -
would have made the job much more economically sensible plus I could
retained the Farmall swinging drawbar (you can't with the Worksaver kit
unless you buy yet another adapter).
you wind up with is a
Cat II hitch
with no draft sensing. It does have sway control and good
control, but the only way to adjust the individual arms is by turning
lift screw sleeves -- no hand crank from the operator's seat like a
3-point hitch. Since I only intend to use the hitch with a
cutter, platform lift, or boom crane, none of those deficiencies are of
any consequence, but I could never plow with that
purchased a 3 point
hitch for our
M (regular old '50 M, but with an M&W live hydraulic pump) last
Parts. They advertise (with a picture that doesn't
in Red Power magazine. They are cheaper ($575 at
the time -
$595 now). Includes two cylinders, painted IH red, fits like
impeccable workmanship, Zerk fittings on every bearing service, and
material on anything you might use as step. The
be set up as one way or two way (down pressure) based on what you tell
them you want. The ad says they are the finest--and IMHO they
the best--based on the ones we have seen. They have the
"ball" type mounting holes in the lift arms to accept Cat I or Cat
valve is the IH
valve (two way hydraulics) as depicted in the Operators
uses the belly pump reservoir and has fitting on the control valve to
'power beyond' to another valve if we needed to.... The
Point hitch with two cylinders w/down pressure hooked up to the IH
and we have use it extensively (maybe with a tad of abuse) it works
Never ran into anything it worked at getting up/ down - whatever
Boom Pole, 6ft Box Blade, 6ft Bush Hog, Slip scoop-- (BIG
and carry all. If will lift the Back end (Down
Tractor too easily if you know what I mean.
is a lot I'm leaving
out so if you
have any specific questions from a customer's perspective let me know.
I have no conection to Saginaw other than as a satisfied
purchased my 3
point hitch from Saginaw
Tractor. In regard to its capacity if used with a
and usefulness with the old belly pump hydraulics, I've gone through
no down pressure).
I first hooked it up to just a single cylinder from the one way valve
a breather on the top cylinder port and I was able to move 1000lb hay
with it. I once tried to pick up a transmission and axel assy
a Super C parts tractor. It couldn't lift it, but if I lifted
with something else, it would just barely hold it up in the
I decided not to risk it and used an engine crane to hold it while I
a truck under to haul it off.
II (single cylinder,
live hyd). When I got tired of not having down pressure and
able to adjust the hitch when the clutch was in, I upgraded to a live
system from a Series II Super M and added a two spool valve for the 3
and 1 remote. As far as cost is concerned, I ended up
225 pump, 100 reservoir, 90 batt box/seat base, 40 seat suspension,
in hydraulic lines, 180 two spool valve that I mounted on the seat box
convenient to right hand. I took one circuit to the 3 point
the second valve as a remote for the wheels on a cutting disc and the
on a Gehl round baler. Since the reservoir replaces the rear
tank support, I lost the regulator mounting (which was a blessing in
since it didn't work anyway) and switched to a 12V alternator at the
time. This was an early SM (Series I with the belly pump
system). I got a lot of the parts from either Steel Wheel or
Equip that advertise in Red Power.
I finally found a way to damage the hitch. I was picking up
tractor (a Farmall B without the motor) from a trailer. I
lift it but found I could hold it up if I jacked the trailer up then
it down from under the tractor. But didn't get quite enough
and when I dragged it off the trailer the rockshaft on the hitch bent
that one lift arm was a good 7-9 inches lower than the other at the
I first thought something on the hitch frame was bent or broken, but
frame was fine, just the rockshaft twisted. So I blocked the
arm and used the down pressure to straighten out the rockshaft forcing
it the other way. Then I went and got the second cylinder
been collecting dust and routed new hydraulic lines to feed both
together. I tried again to lift the parts B tractor and this
with the extra capacity I lifted it right off the ground and drove away
hitch on a Farmall 400, photographed and owned by ATIS member
Click on the picture to go to a larger, higher-resolution image.
Take-Off and Torque Amplifier:
MTAs, built only
in 1954, were the first Farmalls to have a live power
power wasn't a factory option on older Ms and Super Ms, but an
hand clutch was available that provided a live pto. Many
still have those clutches (made by M&W), mounted over the left
housing, but parts for them are hard to come by. ATIS member
Bass recently had to fabricate new disks for the M&W clutch on
Super M, after being unable to find enough replacement disks.
his description, as posted to the ATIS Farmall list:
those of you that
recall, last fall
I posted a couple of questions on the main list about repairing the
clutch on my Super M. The update is that it now has new
and appears to be working great :-)
measured the NOS disc I
found and drew
it in autocad, fed that through some other magic (I lost track)
to the CNC mill controller. We did several test cuts out of
until we matched the NOS disc perfectly. We bought a large sheet of the
clutch material and milled them out. The material was very
the cutter bits, a carbide bit barely lasted through one disc if we
lucky. I put the tractor back together the first weekend
new discs and the NOS disc (since we matched the disc up so well, I
worried about being able to reproduce the NOS disc). Doing
quantities like this it ended up costing about $100 per disc.
tractor had apparently
sat for a long
period at some point as the metal parts inside of the hand clutch
the brake drum which has the teeth that mate to the discs) were rusted
and pitted. What surprised me was that the old fibre discs
worn down in their thickness, but their teeth had been chewed
My M was just driving off the stubs left on the teeth from the last
The teeth on the fibre discs are apparently designed with very tight
so I spent most of my time with a file removing scale and getting a
surface on the teeth in the drum before they would slide in."
found out that M&W
is still operating and may be able to help with information, and can be
reached at (800) 221-2855.
MTAs also introduced
Amplifier" (hence the "TA" designation), an IH innovation used on many
following Farmall series tractors. It was a planetary gearset
let the operator shift to a lower range while on the go, increasing
and decreasing ground speed. If you're looking at an MTA,
be sure the TA works--you'll often see tractors advertised as having a
"good TA" or "bad TA," or something like that. They can be
or replaced if they're worn out, and are readily available from
such as those listed below.
an electric starting
and lighting system, but not all do. Many have been converted
12-volt systems, but the original 6-volt systems will work fine if the
tractor is tuned up well and if the temperatures aren't bitterly cold.
you're buying a new 6-volt battery, get the biggest one, with the most
amps" (CCA), that will fit in the battery box. The wiring
harnesses on old tractors are often in pretty bad shape, but they're
fairly simple to replace since everything is accessible.
Melville's Farmall wiring diagrams, and suppliers like
Brillmans, Rhode Island Wire or
Tractor Parts for original-looking wire and components.
pedals should have
about 1-1/4" of free play--the distance you can push the pedals in
the brakes start to take hold. They should be matched, so
brakes engage at the same time when the pedals are latched
together. Look for oil accumulation beneath the brake
which is a sign of oil leaking past the seals and soaking the brake
bands. The clutch pedal should have between 1/2" and 1" of
bought two Ms over the years and taking the tractor for a road test was
a clincher both times--it's just a lot of fun to hear that smooth
Farmall hum and to watch the world go by from up there. And
it's an opportunity to test the clutch and the gears, and to
listen for unusual sounds from the transmission, and it's a decent way to judge engine lugging
power as you start out in 5th gear from a dead stop. But be
Ms are fast
in 5th gear, like 16 or 17 miles an
you're up high on that seat, on a vehicle with no suspension,
that's cruising right along. It's no problem on a smooth
hitting a bump or a pothole at that speed could bounce you right off
seat. Start slowly and get comfortable with the tractor, the
the brakes, and the road before you try the 5th-gear test.
someone else on the AT
Ms are notorious for having a worn worm gear or sector gear in the
which can cause the front wheels to shake in high gear. You
for this when driving the tractor. Even at low speed, you'll
to tell if there's a lot of free play in the steering--i.e., if you can
turn the steering wheel quite a bit without actually turning the front
wheels, or if the front wheels turn back and forth a bit on their
Ms can be
hard to steer when
stopped or when moving very slowly, but are usually fine once you're
faster. Backing into a tight space can be a challenge, since
you're half turned around with only one hand on the wheel, it can be
to put much weight into steering. I think old Farmalls tend
harder to steer than old John Deeres, since the Farmall engine is right
up front by the front wheels, while Deere engines are back close in to
the rear axle. (I think this is also why rear-wheel weights
to be more common on Farmalls than on comparably-sized John Deeres,
that Deere engine placement helps traction).
spinner knob on the
steering wheel can
help, and is hugely fun to use when turning the tractor around at the
of a row, but it can also whack your hand good and hard if the front
hit a rock or a furrow or something, and the steering wheel suddenly
None of the Ms came with power steering, although there were
companies like Behlen and Char-Lynn that made power-steering pumps for
them. I'd think that Farmall parts suppliers like
Corporation (Bourbon, IN, 800-248-2955),
Wheel Ranch (Everest, KS, 785-548-7437),
and Gruenewald (Brooklyn, WI, 608-455-2411),
Tractor Parts (Noxapater, MS, 888-333-1690), Mathis Equipment
MO, 816-295-4456), or Berkshire Implement (Royal Center, IN,
would have some of those pumps for sale.
think a wide front
end would make
much difference in the ease or difficulty of steering, but they're
to be available from those same suppliers if you wanted to try it, or
you wanted to convert for other reasons.
thing you might
check: Ms sometimes had a problem in the rear-end
There are two big "bull gears" in the final drive, centered on the rear
axles, one on each side.
that support these gears wear out sometimes, and so a ball
bearing would drop down and get caught between the gear and
housing, and punch through.
The problem could be fixed, and wasn't all that common to begin with,
unless there's a leaking patch in the bottom of the rear
end your tractor is probably fine. Just thought I'd mention
long as we're talking Ms.